“Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven” (Matthew 6:1)
For some who heard the Jesus Perspective on giving, praying, and fasting that day on the mountainside, these words were a warning about ongoing hypocrisy. Their practice was to make themselves seen when they did righteous acts. You might say they were acting righteous. It was a role they played, and they were excellent actors. The Greek word for that kind of acting is the root of the English word “hypocrite.”
For others these words, were a warning to guard their motives. That takes some serious introspection. I can guard my tongue in an instant. When I realize I’m about to say something that that I shouldn’t, I can pull back on the reigns of my tongue and keep my mouth shut. We call it “biting our tongues.” But to guard my heart in regard to motives for doing righteous acts; that may take a little time, some prayer, and some real exploratory heart surgery.
Ask yourself today, and be perfectly honest, “Why do you do the good things you do?” Are you doing them to be seen by others for admiration’s sake? Or are you doing them to be seen by God for the reward he has prepared?
That’s Life at Work!